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Orthodox areas face lockdown, Muslim pol to attend Rabin event, bill challenges jet sale to Emirates
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Daily Update

Orthodox areas face lockdown, Muslim pol to attend Rabin event, bill challenges jet sale to Emirates

Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island to pack food packages for senior citizens ahead of Rosh Hashanah, on Tuesday, Sep. 15, 2020. (Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)
Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island to pack food packages for senior citizens ahead of Rosh Hashanah, on Tuesday, Sep. 15, 2020. (Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

Mayor de Blasio will re-impose a Covid-19 lockdown in 20 hot spots in Brooklyn and Queens, nearly all of which have large Orthodox Jewish populations.

The lockdown, which would close all public and private schools, will last two to four weeks in parts of Far Rockaway, Queens and Kew Gardens in Queens; and parts of Borough Park, Midwood, Gravesend, Bensonhurst and Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, The New York Times reported. At least 3% of those tested in those areas have tested positive for the coronavirus in recent days.

Houses of worship are not yet part of the closure plan and can stay open, though with restrictions, the mayor said.

“I think it’s unfortunate that New York City continues to single out a couple of Hasidic Jewish neighborhoods when there are now 20 neighborhoods with serious spikes,” said David Greenfield, who represented Borough Park on the City Council until 2017 and now runs an anti-poverty group.

More: The New York Post has a map of the affected Zip codes. And JTA reports that following New York City warnings last week, mask wearing increased in Borough Park and Midwood.

Keith Ellison, the Minnesota attorney general and the first Muslim elected to Congress, will attend a Yitzhak Rabin memorial event snubbed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Ellison, a leader of Democratic Party progressives, will join an Americans for Peace Now memorial event Oct. 20 marking the 25th anniversary of Rabin’s assassination. Ocasio-Cortez, the freshman New York Democrat, withdrew her commitment last week to attend the event after coming under pressure from pro-Palestinian advocates.

APN’s president Hadar Susskind said that Ellison was not a replacement for Ocasio-Cortez but was among a number of progressive figures the organization invited to speak.

Perspective: Michael J. Koplow of the left-leaning Israel Policy Forum writes that Ocasio-Cortez’s snub is not merely criticism of Israeli behavior; it is a criticism of Israeli legitimacy. “Many Palestinians have cause to dislike Rabin, but for Ocasio-Cortez to treat him as beyond the pale puts her well beyond the boundaries of traditional liberal politics,” he writes.

Israeli health officials have expressed “cautious optimism” in recent days that the curve of infection has begun to flatten, although it was still rising within the charedi Orthodox community, where there are widespread reports of noncompliance.

Cabinet ministers were set to meet Monday to discuss tighter enforcement of regulations.

Perspective: Marcy Oster, a JTA editor in Israel, writes about life at the center of the Covid crisis: “My family has been not only been touched by the pandemic, but hit over the head with it — in ways that illuminate the wide-ranging and devastating consequences that are unfolding across the country where I have lived since 2000.”

Reps. Max Rose of New York and Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, both Democrats, were among the sponsors of a bipartisan bill that would include an effective Israeli veto on U.S. arms sales to the Middle East.

Meant to protect Israel’s qualitative military edge, the bill “would require the President to consult with the Israeli government to ensure [qualitative military edge] concerns are settled” when it comes to arms sales to Middle Eastern countries, said the bill’s lead sponsor, Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill.

Jewish Democrats expressed alarm after it was revealed that, parallel with the U.S.-brokered normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, the Trump administration was negotiating the sale of state-of-the-art F-35 stealth combat jets to the UAE. Israel publicly opposes the sale.

More legislation: The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly condemned the QAnon conspiracy theory, citing among other reasons its anti-Semitism. QAnon advances a baseless theory that President Donald Trump is seeking to rout a network of pedophiles deep inside the government. Trump has not denounced the theory.

Streaming Today

Jewish Theological Seminary presents an examination of the Book of Ecclesiastes by Dr. David Kraemer, the Joseph J. and Dora Abbell Librarian and Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics. The Zoom session will review Ecclesiastes ch. 2 and evaluate its conclusions concerning what truly makes a life “well-lived.” Register here for the  Zoom link. 1:00 pm.

The Jewish Institute for National Security of America hosts a briefing to discuss the possible transfer of F-35 combat aircraft to the UAE as well as policy options to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME) and support U.S. interests in the Middle East. The briefing will feature JINSA Distinguished Fellow General Charles Wald, USAF (ret.), JINSA President and CEO Dr. Michael Makovsky, and JINSA Director of Foreign Policy Jonathan Ruhe.  RSVP at this link  for the webinar. 3:00 pm.

Jewish Currents presents a panel on the strikes, songs and philosophies of “the Jewish working class” of the first decades of the 20th century.  Why do people find such inspiration in this period, and how did labor and socialism actually develop? Featuring Tony Michels, the George L. Mosse Professor of American Jewish History at University of Wisconsin-Madison; Alice Kessler-Harris, the R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History, Emerita, at Columbia University; and Julia Salazar, a New York State Senator representing New York’s 18th State Senate District. Moderated by Kim Kelly, a freelance journalist and organizer based in Philadelphia. 4:00 pm.

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